Issue 9 Stories

Grateful Cancer Survivor Offers Support for Future Patients

As a breast cancer survivor, Flora Satterwhite understands firsthand the physical, emotional and financial toll cancer can take on patients and their families. 

During her months of treatment last year at the Sentara Martha Jefferson Phillips Cancer Care Center, Satterwhite felt concern for the many young men and women she observed in the waiting room. Considering they could be missing quality time with their children and/or hours away from work, she wondered about the hardships cancer had brought into their lives. 

Feeling grateful for the care she received from the hospital’s Medical and Radiation Oncology teams, Satterwhite and her husband, Darvin, made a generous donation to support Sentara Martha Jefferson’s High-Risk Breast Cancer Program and Family Caregiver Support Program. 

“Getting a diagnosis of cancer is a shock, and it interrupts your whole world,” says Satterwhite, who lives near Goochland. “We feel blessed to have been financially able to handle this crisis, but we know that’s not the case for everyone—especially younger patients just starting their careers and families. It was important to us to support future cancer patients and their families.”

After Satterwhite was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at a Richmond medical center in February 2018, she decided to seek treatment where she would find personalized care from a compassionate team. Acting on the recommendation of a friend, she chose Sentara Martha Jefferson, where she underwent chemotherapy, a mastectomy of the right breast, and radiation. She continues to have monthly Herceptin infusions and takes an estrogen-blocker pill daily. 

“Everyone at Sentara Martha Jefferson was so responsive and caring,” Satterwhite says. “The doctors spent time explaining my diagnosis and the treatment process. I got terribly sick from the chemotherapy, and the nurses were so kind to me. They would stop whatever they were doing to try to help me feel better.” 

Brenda Braxton, CPB, CAC, a financial counselor and senior patient account representative at Sentara Martha Jefferson, says few people are prepared financially, emotionally and physically for a cancer diagnosis. She finds it rewarding when grateful patients decide to give back to help others. 

“Mrs. Satterwhite really wanted to give back in a personal way to help other breast cancer patients along their journeys,” Braxton says. “She was so pleased with the different programs we have here at Sentara Martha Jefferson, that she really wanted to give back and make that process just a little bit lighter for someone else. Anytime someone has a diagnosis of breast cancer, they’re going to need as much support as they can get. It’s not always about providing financial assistance—it’s also about finding ways to prepare people for what might be coming down the road for them. Mrs. Satterwhite felt an enormous relief through the support of our various programs and was inspired to help ensure that these programs are available for others in the future.” 

The Satterwhites hope their donation will help ease the burdens on future patients. 

“If my husband and I can help support other patients and caregivers and hopefully relieve their anxiety, then I feel we’ve been able to make a difference for others,” she says. “I can’t say enough good things about everyone at Sentara Martha Jefferson, right down to the trenches. The nurses were sweet and patient, and the doctors explained everything so well. I really felt like everyone took time to get to know me. The quality of care and the compassion of the staff at Sentara Martha Jefferson continue to amaze us.” 

Gifts Of Gratitude 

There are times when a special friend, beloved family member or compassionate caregiver inspires in us a desire to acknowledge and pay tribute to that individual and relationship in a distinctive and meaningful manner. 

One such meaningful expression is a charitable gift made in honor or memory of a special friend or family member, which can be directed to support hospital programs or services significant in the life of that individual. 

Often a patient or family member, grateful for the care provided at Sentara Martha Jefferson, has a desire to do something tangible to say thank you and acknowledge the difference a special caregiver (or team of caregivers) has made during an especially vulnerable time. 

These philanthropic gifts help support vital programs and services at Sentara Martha Jefferson that benefit patients, families and caregivers alike. 

To inquire about making a Gift of Gratitude, contact the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation Gift Staff at 434-654-8258 or visit

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A Community of Philanthropists